KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a brazen crime. Caught on security camera, a man can be seen lighting fire to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Captain Cook early Thursday morning.
It didn't take long for authorities to locate him.
Sources tell Hawaii News Now the man's family saw the images of him on television, and notified police of his identity. In the meantime, sources say, the man checked himself in to Kona Community Hospital, where he remains under psychiatric evaluation.
Church members are relieved the short-lived saga is over.
"We're happy, we're content about that--but we're also praying for this individual too" said Pastor Nick De Lima, expressing a wide range of emotions after learning the suspect was located. Images of the fire show the extent of the damage, especially to the play area where newborns to four-year olds spent time.
"I feel more for the children. When I see it, it's kind of sad, because when you see that you can remember the children singing, playing games, praying together" said Pastor De Lima.
Mark Oskins was the man who installed the cameras that helped identify the suspect. He did so because this isn't the first time the church has been burned.
"January of 2011 they torched our school which is right below the church on the school property" he said.
While this wasn't the first act of violence against the church--it was still just as hurtful.
"My initial reaction was shock, at first...can't imagine anyone would want to destroy a place of worship" said De Lima.
"It's disbelief. I just can't believe somebody would stoop that low to fire a church" added Oskins.
The structure will not be usable until repairs are made.
Still, worship will continue on site.
"We have a beautiful lawn set up, and we're going to be worshipping there while our church gets repaired. We're excited, we're moving forward" said the Pastor.
To make donations or volunteer, contact the church at:
82-1013 Kinue Road, Captain Cook, HI 96704 (808) 323-3317